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We build a rigorous nonequilibrium thermodynamic description for open chemical reaction networks of elementary reactions. Their dynamics is described by deterministic rate equations with mass action kinetics. Our most general framework considers open networks driven by time-dependent chemostats. The energy and entropy balances are established and a nonequilibrium Gibbs free energy is introduced. The difference between this latter and its equilibrium form represents the minimal work done by the chemostats to bring the network to its nonequilibrium state. It is minimized in nondriven detailed-balanced networks (i.e., networks that relax to equilibrium states) and has an interesting information-theoretic interpretation. We further show that the entropy production of complex-balanced networks (i.e., networks that relax to special kinds of nonequilibrium steady states) splits into two non-negative contributions: one characterizing the dissipation of the nonequilibrium steady state and the other the transients due to relaxation and driving. Our theory lays the path to study time-dependent energy and information transduction in biochemical networks.

Starting from the most general formulation of stochastic thermodynamics-i.e. a thermodynamically consistent nonautonomous stochastic dynamics describing systems in contact with several reservoirs -we define a procedure to identify the conservative and the minimal set of nonconservative contributions in the entropy production. The former is expressed as the difference between changes caused by time-dependent drivings and a generalized potential difference. The latter is a sum over the minimal set of flux-force contributions controlling the dissipative flows across the system. When the system is initially prepared at equilibrium (e.g. by turning off drivings and forces), a finite-time detailed fluctuation theorem holds for the different contributions. Our approach relies on identifying the complete set of conserved quantities and can be viewed as the extension of the theory of generalized Gibbs ensembles to nonequilibrium situations.

We formulate a nonequilibrium thermodynamic description for open chemical reaction networks (CRN) described by a chemical master equation. The topological properties of the CRN and its conservation laws are shown to play a crucial role. They are used to decompose the entropy production into a potential change and two work contributions, the first due to time dependent changes in the externally controlled chemostats concentrations and the second due to flows maintained across the system by nonconservative forces. These two works jointly satisfy a Jarzynski and Crooks fluctuation theorem. In absence of work, the potential is minimized by the dynamics as the system relaxes to equilibrium and its equilibrium value coincides with the maximum entropy principle. A generalized Landauer's principle also holds: the minimal work needed to create a nonequilibrium state is the relative entropy of that state to its equilibrium value reached in absence of any work.

Chemical processes in closed systems inevitably relax to equilibrium. Living systems avoid this fate and give rise to a much richer diversity of phenomena by operating under nonequilibrium conditions. Recent experiments in dissipative self-assembly also demonstrated that by opening reaction vessels and steering certain concentrations, an ocean of opportunities for artificial synthesis and energy storage emerges. To navigate it, thermodynamic notions of energy, work and dissipation must be established for these open chemical systems. Here, we do so by building upon recent theoretical advances in nonequilibrium statistical physics. As a central outcome, we show how to quantify the efficiency of such chemical operations and lay the foundation for performance analysis of any dissipative chemical process.

We set up a rigorous thermodynamic description of reaction-diffusion systems driven out of equilibrium by time-dependent space-distributed chemostats. Building on the assumption of local equilibrium, nonequilibrium thermodynamic potentials are constructed exploiting the symmetries of the chemical network topology. It is shown that the canonical (resp. semigrand canonical) nonequilibrium free energy works as a Lyapunov function in the relaxation to equilibrium of a closed (resp. open) system, and its variation provides the minimum amount of work needed to manipulate the species concentrations. The theory is used to study analytically the Turing pattern formation in a prototypical reaction-diffusion system, the one-dimensional Brusselator model, and to classify it as a genuine thermodynamic nonequilibrium phase transition.

Starting from the detailed catalytic mechanism of a biocatalyst we provide a coarse-graining procedure which, by construction, is thermodynamically consistent. This procedure provides stoichiometries, reaction fluxes (rate laws), and reaction forces (Gibbs energies of reaction) for the coarse-grained level. It can treat active transporters and molecular machines, and thus extends the applicability of ideas that originated in enzyme kinetics. Our results lay the foundations for systematic studies of the thermodynamics of large-scale biochemical reaction networks. Moreover, we identify the conditions under which a relation between one-way fluxes and forces holds at the coarse-grained level as it holds at the detailed level. In doing so, we clarify the speculations and broad claims made in the literature about such a general flux-force relation. As a further consequence we show that, in contrast to common belief, the second law of thermodynamics does not require the currents and the forces of biochemical reaction networks to be always aligned.

Abstract. The high accuracy exhibited by biological information transcription processes is due to kinetic proofreading, i.e., by a mechanism which reduces the error rate of the information-handling process by driving it out of equilibrium. We provide a consistent thermodynamic description of enzyme-assisted assembly processes involving competing substrates, in a Master Equation framework. We introduce and evaluate a measure of the efficiency based on rigorous non-equilibrium inequalities. The performance of several proofreading models are thus analyzed and the related time, dissipation and efficiency vs. error trade-offs exhibited for different discrimination regimes. We finally introduce and analyze in the same framework a simple model which takes into account correlations between consecutive enzyme-assisted assembly steps. This work highlights the relevance of the distinction between energetic and kinetic discrimination regimes in enzyme-substrate interactions.

We present a general method to identify an arbitrary number of fluctuating quantities which satisfy a detailed fluctuation theorem for all times within the framework of time-inhomogeneous Markovian jump processes. In doing so we provide a unified perspective on many fluctuation theorems derived in the literature. By complementing the stochastic dynamics with a thermodynamic structure (i.e. using stochastic thermodynamics), we also express these fluctuating quantities in terms of physical observables.

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